Romans 11:36: For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (ESV)
If we are supposed to live for God, how do we involve every moment, every mundane thing? Aren’t there some things that have nothing to do with God?
Why Everything Is Connected to God
Paul's statement is comprehensive. All things are from, through, and to him (God). How is this so? Because everything that exists comes from him. And because everything that exists come from him, everything that is must be through him as well, for there cannot be anything that does not depend on him. Without him there is nothing made that was made. As a result, there is no area, not one square inch nor one spare moment which does not bear its creator’s fingerprint, so to speak.
Paul also says that everything is to him. This is to say that not only does everything find its origin in God, and its sustained existence through God, but everything finds its terminus in God. Everything that is, is to God. This is also to say that everything is for God. This may seem strange at first, but that is only from our perspective as limited, finite, contingent beings. Since God is eternal, infinite, and necessary, how could anything that exists be anything other than to and for him? Nothing can be, since it would present an unresolvable contradiction. Paul is not making a bold new statement here. He is stating the obvious and logical, but in such a way as to evoke and cap off his praise.
This means that as we live for God, we can ask whether the space, object, or moment is being used in conformity to its created design. This is to live life for God. It is not just on Sunday. It is me everywhere all the time. To live for God in all of life is to fulfill God’s design for every moment and space. To live for God means to know his will, which we must learn from his word. There is no part of our lives unconnected from living for God because there can be no part or aspect of the universe disconnected from God.
The personal nature of God demands that there be a purpose in creation. Or rather, the fact that all things have an origin in a personal Creator implies that there must be a purpose for all things. When we do something for no reason, we do not consider it a good thing. A pointless action or purposeless plan is just that: purposeless and pointless.
Our Personal and Moral Connection to God
Since God is moral, there is not only a purpose or a point for all things, but it is also good. There is a plan, a point, a goal for all things. And human beings play a unique role in it as the only embodied beings on earth who are made in the image of God. In making us in his image, one of the things our Creator conferred to us is moral agency. We make choices that are good or bad. We do things whose purpose and point have a moral quality. And that moral quality will either purposely coordinate with God's overt goals or will seek to undermine it. A moral purpose for creation means that moral agents within it either conform or fail to conform to it. And I am a moral agent. So are you.
Having zoomed all the way out to eternity, I can now zoom back into my life. Am I living within God’s good design and purpose, or against it? That helps me orient every moment, every place, every action according to God so that every moment is lived for God.
Now someone might object that, if God is creator, then there is nothing that can happen against his will, since he could make it otherwise. How can a creature violate its creator’s will? There is truth to this, for otherwise God’s plans involving humans might theoretically be thwarted. But this misses the fact that we have access to more information than the notion of God’s sovereign will alone, what is known as the will of decree. We speak of a will of decree by which God sovereignly works all things according to his will. There is no act, no movement, no thought that is outside of God's will of decree. In Scripture, God has revealed some of his will of decree, but not all. God also has made known his moral will. And it is this will, the moral will, with which we are most called to concern ourselves.
This is why it’s important to remember that we are moral agents. Not all of creation shares this trait. We make choices that are good or bad, right or wrong, just or unjust, honorable or shameful, pure or impure. Ever since Adam’s fall, we have been making bad choices which fall outside of God’s moral will. Even if everything falls within God’s decretive will, the presence of sin and our fallen natures make choosing against God’s moral will possible.
What It All Boils Down To
So then, we are left to consider whether our thoughts, desires and actions fall within or without God’s moral will. And this requires knowledge of God derived from his word and illuminated for us by the Holy Spirit. Some may find themselves so fearful of falling afoul of God’s will that they hesitate to do anything. But God’s will does not allow for inaction. Our fundamental command is to love, after all.
And that’s what it all boils down to. Is what I’m thinking, desiring, or doing connected in any way to my love for God neighbor, or am I just doing this as a fulfillment of a selfish desire or faithless self-preservation?
This is how even mundane moments are connected to living for God through Christ. You are not making up connections but recognizing the ones that are there. The more skilled and practiced you become at this, the more you see it, and the more you see it, the more obvious God's connection is to every moment, space, and person, including you and me.